No day the same for retail manager Gerry

Gerry Bennett, general manager for Maxol’s largest NI service station, A26 Tannaghmore
Gareth McKeown

THIS week's My Kind of Job is Gerry Bennett

What is your job?

I am the general manager for Maxol's largest NI service station, A26 Tannaghmore.

How did you get there?

From a young age, I always had an interest in the retail industry. I got the chance to get involved in a trainee management scheme with Dunnes Stores and then my career took off. I worked for over three years as an area manager for another forecourt company before spending some time in Canada managing a large off-licence. When A26 Tannaghmore opened in March 2017, I got the opportunity to join the team and was appointed the general manager.

Do you have a typical working day?

Not really and that's one of things I love about my job. I rarely get two days the same. My mornings tend to start around 6:30am when I arrive at the station to do a walk through of the entire store and forecourt to ensure everything is clean, tidy and ready for customers. After that though, my day varies depending on what needs done and while some tasks can be repetitive I'm never normally doing the same things day after day.

What qualifications do you have?

I hold an HND in Business and Finance.

What other skills do you need in your role?

One of the most important skills I need for my job is good communication- the ability to effectively interact and communicate with both customers and the team I work alongside at A26 Tannaghmore. As general manager I also think it's important to possess good leadership skills; to me this can mean anything from being able to work under pressure, and being able to empathise with and relate to my co-workers.

What's the best thing about your role?

This is a tough question as there are many things I love about my job. Aside from getting to meet new people every day I also love getting the chance to mentor and watch people progress within the business, I find that very rewarding.

And the worst?

Sometimes there just aren't enough hours in the day. From planning the staff rotas and scheduling to inventory checks, budgeting and receiving order shipments, time can really run away on you. I hate leaving for the day without finishing everything that I set out to achieve so this would definitely be the worst aspect of my day. Saying that, being so busy means my days never drag, I'm kept busy from start to finish.

What do you think are the greatest challenges/pressures of the job?

I live quite far from A26 Tannaghmore so the early starts to ensure I'm at the store for 6:30am can really be a challenge, especially during the cold winter months.

What did you want to be when you were at school?

Exactly what I am doing now. I started working in retail from quite a young age and almost immediately I was attracted to the fast paced and ever-changing way of working, no two days are ever the same. I enjoy being challenged and that is exactly what retail management does for me.

What advice would you give someone considering a career?

First and foremost, you have to be prepared to give it your all. I work long hours and very hard to ensure A26 Tannaghmore runs smoothly and successfully. This can often mean weekend work as well so I think you also need to love what you do.

What's the most question people ask when they find out what you do?

People are always interested in what time of day the fuel trucks arrive to fill up the storage tanks as you rarely see them during the day. It would be a toss up between that and people asking if I get free petrol. I don't by the way!

How do you like to relax outside of work?

If I'm not working you'll normally find me either out walking, playing soccer or going to the gym..

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